Update your stone fireplace with a DIY Mantel! Learn how to build the mantel and hang it, easily and for under $100.

Open Concept on HGTV Fireplace

This wood mantel is a project that I have had planned since we were building our house but it seemed like it was going to be such a pain and I was worried that I would mess something up and ruin our stone fireplace surround. So, I put it off. I finally couldn’t take it anymore. The blank space over the fireplace seemed to be getting bigger and bigger so I stopped all of my projects and focused on this.

How to Build a Wood Mantel and Hang it on a Stone Fireplace

I wish I had the chops to do it sooner because it was SOOOO EASY! I’ll show you how to build a wood mantel and hang it on a stone fireplace. If you have built our floating shelves, it’s basically the same idea. I feel like I got a complete fireplace renovation by just building a simple shelf!

My mantel is 61 1/2″ long but this can be easily modified to the perfect size to fit your space. This is a tutorial for attaching a mantel to a natural stone fireplace. If you have a stone veneer you will need to attach it differently.



Building the Mantel

Step 1: Make the Cuts


I started by cutting the 1×10. I cut one piece at 61 1/2″ and two pieces at 7 1/4″.

Step 2: Drilling Pocket Holes


Next, I used my Kreg Jig to drill three 3/4″ pocket holes in one end of each of the short 1×10 pieces.

  • You can find our favorite Kreg Jig model here!

Step 3: Assembling the Shelf


I applied a thin line of Gorilla Wood Glue to the pocket hole end of the short pieces.


Then, I attached them to the ends of the long 1×10 piece with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.


This will be the front and sides of the mantel.


Then, I cut two 1×8 boards at 60″ and drilled 3/4″ pocket holes on one side of each board and both ends.


Next, I attached one of the 1×8 boards to the top of the mantel with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

Step 4: Building the Bottom of the Mantel


I found a great deal on these 18″ corbels from Amazon for only $60 for the set! You can see the corbels I purchased in the box below! The corbels are totally optional. You can use a different style or leave them off completely for a more contemporary look.


I marked where I wanted the corbels to be on the last 1×8 piece. Mark on the side that does NOT have pocket holes. I marked my line about 5 1/4″ from the end of the board. My corbel will sit to the left of this line (leaving 2 1/4″ between the corbel and the end of this board).


To attach the corbel, I applied a wood glue to the top of the corbel.


Next, I drove several 3″ wood screws from the pocket hole side of the 1×8 into the corbels.


Step 5: Attaching the Bottom of the Mantel to the Shelf


I used some scrap pieces to keep the bottom level with the mantel and attached it with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.


Step 6: The Finish

Now she’s ready for the finish! I decided on one of our favorite finishing techniques. We like to use Vaseline, stain and paint to get a great chippy, distressed look.


I applied one coat of Varathane Carrington stain all over and waited for about an hour for it to dry.


Once it dried, I applied a thin line of Vaseline around the edges and smeared it around the main part of the mantel too. Do this wherever you want the stain to show through your paint.


Then, I immediately painted one coat of latex paint all over. (Paint color is Seine by Valspar)


When the paint dried, I used my Ryobi Corner Cat Sander with an 80-grit pad to sand the entire piece. You will see the paint peel off pretty easy where the Vaseline was applied.

Step 7: Mantel Installation on Stone Fireplace

Now to hang it on the stone! (I did this while the stain and paint were drying to speed things up).


I bought these Sleeve Anchors at Home Depot. They are 1/2″ diameter and 4″ in length.


I cut the 2×4 down to 59″ and drilled a hole at each end (about 3″ from the ends) and one in the middle (just off center). I used a 1/2″ forstner bit and my 18-Volt drill (1/2″ bit was chosen because that is the diameter of the anchors). Also cut 4 2×4 pieces at 5.75 and drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes on the end of each piece. Save those for later.


Then, I marked the center point on the 2×4 and the center point on the fireplace to make sure my mantel would be centered on the fireplace ;). Next, I used a black marker to mark inside each of the three holes onto the stone, so that I would know where to drill the holes into the stone. *Make sure to keep a level on the 2×4 as you are marking the holes on the stone!


To drill the holes into the stone, I used my Ryobi 18-Volt Rotary Hammer Drill. It looks intimidating but it is so easy to use and makes drilling into masonry a piece of cake! You will need a special SDS Masonry drill bit for this. I bought one in 1/4″ and another in 1/2″. You can see the kind I purchased HERE. I started by drilling with the 1/4″ bit first and worked my way up to the 1/2″ because I didn’t want the stone to crack. Not sure if it would but better safe than sorry 😉 using-a-larger-bit

That black rod to the right of the bit is the depth rod. You can slide it back and forth according to the depth you need to drill. I set mine to hit the stone when I was 3″ deep. My anchors were 4″ and I had to allow for 1 1/2″ from the 2×4 and the instructions on the anchors suggest allowing and extra 1/4″ so I settled on 3″.


Once all three holes were drilled I held the 2×4 up and hammered an anchor into the 2×4 and stone. This is better as a 2 person job but the hubs had to coach our sons baseball practice and of course I was too impatient to wait 😉

You can hammer all three anchors before you go back and tighten them.


To tighten them, just twist the bolt with a wrench.


That’s it!


Now, attach the short 2×4 pieces to the 2×4 on the stone with 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws and wood glue.


Put one on each end and the other two splitting center.

It’s time to hang the mantel now!


I slid the mantel over the cleat that I built on the stone and drove 2″ wood screws from the sides and top of the mantel into the 2×4’s underneath.


That was it! I’m in LOVE with the end result! I feel like I got a complete den makeover but it was so easy and quick.


For about $100 and an afternoon of work, I’ve got my dream fireplace that makes a huge impact in my living room! It really is the focal point of this space. And, with the way it is attached, I can swap it out for another one if my style changes and I want a new overall look.

Links to the cute finds that are hanging out on my mantel:

Artichoke Finial – from Save on Crafts

Driftwood Ball – from Save on Crafts

Herb Planter – from Save on Crafts

Votive Holder – from Hobby Lobby

Coffee Table

Floating Shelves

Rolling Console Table

Triple Leg Console Table

Thanks so much for stopping by!


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  1. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! I know your post is at least 2 years old, but I’ve been looking all over for information on how to attach a mantle to a rock (not brick!) fireplace.

    1. It looks nice and nicely done with the pocket holes.
      I would say be careful hanging any mantel that low though. In most states the building code requires at least 12 inches from the top of the firebox to the bottom of the mantel.

  2. I am in the same predicament as Erin Sparks. The question is whether or not one can attach a 20-40lbs mantel to a faux stone fireplace? (As best I can tell mine is thinset-applied synthetic rock over what I presume is cement drywall for which the studs run perpendicular as opposed to facing out.) I’ve searched the web high and low yet even the DIY TV website and YouTube haven’t yielded any clues as to whether or not the weight of a mantel can be supported on such a fireplace. I looked at the instructions for the mantel I just bought and no FYIs/cautions are indicated there, either. Long story short, I have a 72″ wood mantel and no idea if there are *some* fireplace builds in which it is not possible to affix a mantel like this? (Not to mention, how do I get it to sit flush except to chisel away at the uneven “rock” face?)

    In a related note, it’s come to my attention — which is relevant to fellow DIYers — that fire codes require a certain amount of clearance off the firebox when attaching combustable (wood) mantels. What’s more, local codes trump international codes and can vary dramatically. As a result, the only way to resolve the question is by placing a call to one’s local building department! Most of the DIY guides for fireplace mantel installation don’t mention that this is a critical step not only to prevent a potential fire hazard but to prevent headaches in the even the house is sold (so that it passes inspection).

  3. This looks beautiful, I am not good at DIY so I will have my dad help me. What sort of wood works best for this project?


  4. Hello!

    We have a similar looking fireplace, where it bumps out from the wall, and has that ledge in front down to the floor. Well my handy-man, retired-from-construction father-in-law who’s helping us remodel our house doesn’t think we can attach a mantle to our stone-faced fire place. I believe my husband said the reason it wouldn’t work is b/c it’s stone-faced, not real stone?

    Things I’ve read about putting a mantle on a stone wall say to drill into the studs. With our, and your fireplace, are the studs directly behind the stone since it bumps out from the wall?

    So curious to know!!

  5. ????

    I built my own using the plans at www. WoodworkPlans.info – highly recommended you check those out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha

    Head on over to www. WoodworkPlans.info if you want to learn more – click the pink link above for some more plans! Best of luck on your building adventures!


  6. the shelf with the eleceronic under the TV, is that shelf attached to the TV’s wall mount bracket? Or is something you rigged up urself?

  7. THAT IS SICK! but is this to fire code? I thought you had to be 15″ from the firebox with any combustible material, like wood?

    1. I had the exact same question. It looks fantastic but too close to comply with fire codes. The answer varies by municipality so the only way to get it right is to call the building department. Online you will find contradictory information. I’ve read 12 inches is the minimum offset. Others say six inches minimum plus an additional inch for every 1/8″ the mantel protrudes (which could mean some ~20 inches separation!).

  8. Help! I’m having trouble drilling into our stone. Using a hammer drill and masonry bit and getting NOWHERE.

      1. I’m not sure what kind of stone it is. The bit was not going in at all though. I ended up remeasuring everything and anchoring it into the grout & that worked ????????

        1. Over the long haul, the mortar will eventually crumble. It’s not considered a strong spot for anchoring masonry bolts.

      1. I just have to ask, how are you hiding all your cords for your TV and DVD player??? We are so puzzled!

        1. Our tv is slanted down so set the cable box behind the tv, towards the top (it rests on the mounting bracket) and I wrapped the cords up and hung them on a command hook that I attached to the back of the tv. When we built the house we had an outlet installed where we planned to put the TV.

          1. Ah I see! Well that is clever! Unfortunately we will have to think of something else for the actually plug in to the tv but at least I found a way to hide some of the cords. Thanks for your reply, your shelves and mantel look amazing!

  9. That is beautiful. I have been wanting to build one for our fireplace, but it is 60+ years old and I am scared to drill into the stones!

  10. Built one based on your how-to yesterday and today. I used poplar and some oak trim with Golden Oak stain. I did not elect to use the corbels and only went with 8″ instead of 10″ for the height. Your exact dimensions worked perfectly for our 72″ wide rock wall. Thanks for posting, I think my wife will be happy.